Mary hopped on board of new husband Randy Edwards scooter after they exchanged vows in September 2020. (www.pamdykstraphotography)

Mary hopped on board of new husband Randy Edwards scooter after they exchanged vows in September 2020. (www.pamdykstraphotography)

Langley seniors residence manager’s dedication earns national award

Danielle Axton has worked at the same seniors complex for more than a decade

Danielle Axton credits her grandparents for instilling in her a love of being around older people.

It was her grandmother, Mary Coatta, who allowed Axton to live in her Maple Ridge home while she was studying therapeutic recreation at Douglas College to work with seniors.

“My Grandma graciously let me live with her so that I could achieve my dreams of working with seniors,” Axton said. “We grew even closer as she taught me how to be a functioning adult with her stern but loving ways. Her and I have a fun relationship in which we can joke with each other or cry with each other and she truly is my best friend.”

After graduation, Axton went to work at Chartwell Langley Gardens in Walnut Grove as a recreation aide a decade ago. In 2012, she became the Lifestyle & Programs coordinator and in 2018 took on her current position as Memory Living manager.

It meant a long daily round trip from Mary’s home to work in Maple Ridge but on one occasion, she couldn’t make it home. When Langley was hit by a major snowfall in January 2020, Axton packed a bag and moved into the residence guest suite for a week in case anyone couldn’t make it into work.

Her dedication to caring for seniors has earned her a national award. She is the 2020 Memory Living Manager of the Year, chosen from more than Chartwell Retirement Residences across Canada.

She is one of six receiving managers’ awards and was “shocked” to be chosen. Axton has been at Langley Gardens for more than a decade and “couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”

The reason – the residents.

“Our residents are just so grateful,” Axton said. “They are happy, they are kind, they are joyful and they want to be loved. This is such a rewarding career, and I am so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing people every day! Our residents are so appreciative of everything, big or small, so knowing that you can make someone’s day just by smiling at them is so rewarding.”

She now works in the dedicated area for residents with cognitive impairments.

“Our Memory Living neighbourhood is an amazing place for residents living with mild to moderate stages of dementia to thrive. Our unique person-centered approach individualizes each resident’s care needs in order to help our residents have a good day, every day,” she explained “The neighbourhood is calming, supportive and most importantly fun. Our team is so incredibly dedicated to making our residents lives better and we are truly one big family.”

The 33-year-old finds working with seniors uplifting.

“This field is amazing,” Axton said. “Our residents have lived through things that we cannot even imagine yet they wake up every morning with a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye and they inspire me each and every day to do the same! When you go to bed at night you rest your head knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life, and I am so lucky that I get to wake up every morning and look forward to going to work.”

Axton still looks to her grandmother for inspiration. In September, she was able to throw the 90-year-old a wedding. Mary wed her longtime friend, Randy Edwards, 82, in her backyard.

With the pandemic stretching on and one, Mary wanted to be able to spend time with Randy but would just let him move in.

“The pandemic has been hard but we are making it work and I am just so glad that they moved in together so they can keep each other company,” Axton said. “My Grandma said, ‘No man is moving into my house unless I have a ring on my finger.’ We all thought she was joking, but turns out she wasn’t!”

After exchanging their vows, Mary sat on his lap while he drove his scooter back up the aisle.

“Randy had broken his hip a few months prior to the wedding so he utilizes a scooter most of the time. Unfortunately, my grandma also had broken her hip about a year prior so she also has compromised mobility. Once wed, Grandma hopped on Randy’s scooter into wedded bliss down the aisle,” Axton quipped.

Axton was her maid of honour in a COVID-safe ceremony. Since then, restrictions have prevented them from seeing her grandmother in person.

She stays connected with family during the pandemic mainly through technology.

“Being an essential worker, I have limited all of my contacts for the safety of my residents,” she explained. “I stay in contact with my Grandma via phone. We chat several times a week, or I stop by and have a window visit but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I miss our Friday visits or taking her for lunch White Spot.”

.


Got a news tip?

Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Seniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Danielle Axton served as maid of honour when her grandmother, Mary Coatta, married Randy Edwards in September 2020. (www.pamdykstraphotography)

Danielle Axton served as maid of honour when her grandmother, Mary Coatta, married Randy Edwards in September 2020. (www.pamdykstraphotography)

Danielle Axton won the 2020 Memory Living Manager of the Year award, one of six national awards presented by Chartwell Retirement Residences. (Chartwell photo/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Lesley Wells encourages others to donate some time to a cause they believe in, describing her volunteer duties with Langley Meals on Wheels – and specifically their new Community Kitchen program – as a labour of love. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Community kitchen volunteer encourages more to get involved

Langley City’s Lesley Wells describes her contributions as selfish - getting more out than she gives

People have been leaving Post-It note messages for staff at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Langley Events Centre. (Fraser Health Tweet)
LETTER: Langley resident lauds LEC vaccination clinic staff

Local couple impressed with everyone they encountered at the clinic set up in the local hockey arena

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley resident urges patience for all awaiting vaccination

Letter writer also encourages people to show their gratitude to hardworking front-line health staff

Well Seasoned gourmet food store owner Angie Quaale bought and distributed $500 worth of gift cards to a local restaurant last week, after Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the “circuit breaker” shut down of indoor seating at the end of last month. She’s hoping it will spark more people to help local restaurant and pub operators. She’s doing another giveaway starting Monday night. (Jeff Vinnick/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Gift card purchases aim to boost sales for struggling Langley restaurants

A Langley business owner tries to support fellow food entrepeneurs hit hard by pandemic restrictions

A cargo container was knocked off a truck trying to pass under the Glover Road overpass in 2018. Crews will be working on the overpass Monday, April 12 in the evening and one eastbound lane will be temporarily closed. (Langley Advance Times files)
Highway slowdown expected Monday night in Langley for overpass work

The Glover Road overpass is getting some work done

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Most Read